Edinburgh’s grit supplies cut ahead of big freeze

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salt stores have been cut by more than a third in the Capital this winter – but city chiefs say they are ready to keep traffic moving.

More roads than ever before will be gritted ahead of predicted snowfalls in an effort to avoid some of the problems experienced in past years.

Ronnie McGlinchie on a mound of salt supplies in the Capital. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Ronnie McGlinchie on a mound of salt supplies in the Capital. Picture: Ian Rutherford

And with forecasters warning of a particularly severe winter, services are expected to be severely stretched.

This winter’s salt stock has been cut from 25,000 to 16,000 tonnes, as the city’s Braehead depot is no longer being used as an emergency store because it is considering selling the site under a cost-cutting review.

It follows a two-year spell where the authority has increased stocks to 25,000 tonnes.

Despite the drop, transport and environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said the city has “more than enough” stocks of salt and grit to keep the roads clear.

She added: “It is important that we continue to be vigilant in preparing for whatever this winter throws at us.”

The city is increasing the number of roads it classes as priority one – vital arteries that get gritted whenever frost or snow is forecast .

All access roads into schools, health centres, residential and day care homes, emergency service facilities and bus routes will get the priority treatment. Edinburgh’s key cycle paths will also be gritted for the second year running.

The cycling lobby said it was essential cycle lanes and paths were properly treated.

The programme was unveiled as temperatures in Edinburgh dipped to minus three degrees late on Monday in a sign that winter’s grip is finally reaching the Lothians, but the worst is to come.

Forecasters warned the entire country is set for a horror freeze which will bring brutal winds and fierce blizzards, throughout the winter.

Temperatures have already started to plunge as a swathe of cold air from the Arctic has swept across the UK in the past few days.

The first long-range forecasts warn of “recordbreaking snowfalls” next month, lasting until February .

Weathermen also say the position of a fast-flowing band of air known as the jet stream near to Britain will allow Arctic air into the atmosphere causing extreme low temperatures and extreme conditions throughout Britain.

Gritters run by contractor Bear Scotland started running on trunk roads around 
the Capital on Monday afternoon.

This year will see the return of so-called super-gritters, which are capable of spreading twice as much salt on icy roads.